14 Best Gardening Books for Beginners That’ll Help Your Garden Thrive!


What are some of the best gardening books for beginners? If you’re a complete gardening novice, I bet the sheer flood of online advice can be a little haphazard, a bit overwhelming.

Not to worry! I’ve put together a list of some of the best books on gardening to get you started. Here, I’ve tried to include a variety of organized gardening reads that’ll help you grow the right kind of garden to suit your preference and needs.

Each well-reviewed gardening book covers a huge range of topics to broaden your knowledge and skills. However, keep in mind that no single read can possibly hold all the answers. Thus, you may also want to check out posts from good gardening blogs to further enrich your learning.

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My picks of the best gardening books for beginners

1. All New Square Foot Gardening

Best Gardening Books For Beginners Books on Gardening Square Foot Gardening
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Many folks regard Square Foot Gardening as one of the best gardening books for beginners ever written.

In this latest updated version, Mel Bartholomew covers a lot of ground. He explains his easy-to-follow gardening system that teaches you how to conveniently grow more fresh produce using far less space. In short, you’ll focus on maximizing your per-meter yields.

What I love the most about the book is the huge range of help offered. You’ll learn how to build your own classic square garden trellis, construct a simple composter, know the best growth conditions for specific plants / produce, among other things.

In short, All New Square Foot Gardening is among the best books on gardening to start with before sinking your roots deeper.

All New Square Foot Gardening, 3rd Edition, Fully Updated: MORE Projects - NEW Solutions - GROW Vegetables Anywhere (All New Square Foot Gardening, 9)
  • Bartholomew, Mel (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages - 11/27/2018 (Publication Date) - Cool Springs Press (Publisher)

2. The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible

Best Gardening Books For Beginners Books on Gardening Vegetable Gardeners Bible
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Also newly updated, The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible is a widely celebrated resource for both beginner and intermediate gardeners alike. It brims with detailed info on how to use wide and deep raised beds, as well as the best organic growing methods.

In addition, I love the extensive A-Z vegetable profiles that cover the pros, cons, and needed conditions to successfully raise a diverse variety of crops. This includes tips on when, where, and how to sow each type of produce amid optimal soil, light, and watering routines.

Above all, I think the The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible is a smart and well-organised guide that eases you into nurturing your very own self-sustaining garden. A must-have!

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3. Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening

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For budding organic gardeners, I think Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening is easily one of the best go-to resource for novices.

You’ll learn about garden planning and planting, as well as how to keep a keen eye on your harvests. In addition, I really liked the extensive troubleshooting section. It traverses a range of how-to questions that are bound to crop up (ha) along your organic gardening journey.

In addition, I enjoy the Smart Starts sidebars. These contain small and manageable gardening projects with clear instructions to help you gain confidence in your skills. Moreover, there’s also a glossary of common and clearly defined gardening terms for easy reference.

However, I think it’s important to know that a lot of the advice given relates specifically to North American climates. Thus, if you live elsewhere, you might wish to seek another resource.

In short, Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening is by far one of the best books about gardening to get your hands on. As an added perk, there are tons of beautiful photos to gaze at!

Rodale's Basic Organic Gardening: A Beginner's Guide to Starting a Healthy Garden
  • Rodale s Basic Organic Gardening
  • Martin, Deborah L. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

4. The Backyard Gardener

The Backyard Gardener
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Want to fill your sparse backyard with a gorgeous mix of herbs, flowers, and vegetables? The Backyard Gardener is a prime place to start!

Kelly Orzel introduces you to all the key gardening basics. This includes learning how to design a beautiful plant bed, picking up smart propagation techniques, knowing your gardening tools, and so much more. Above all, I love how Orzel gives ample attention to teaching soil selection and testing.

In addition, the book pops with lots of full-colored photos, making your learning experience all the more inspiring.

However, I think it’s worth mentioning that The Backyard Gardener reads more like a series of excellent tips and advice, instead of a step-by-step instructional guide. In other words, Orzel doesn’t aim to micro-manage your progress. Rather, her goal is to help you level up your overall gardening skills and knowledge to get you underway.

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5. Raised-Bed Gardening for Beginners

Best Gardening Books For Beginners Books on Gardening Raised Bed Gardening
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I think raised-bed gardening has many benefits. This includes you having to worry less about weeds, gain better control over your growing space, and enjoy easier soil management – among other pluses.

If you’re keen on this form of gardening, Raised-Bed Gardening for Beginners is a great place to start. You’ll pick up all the basics, from learning to construct your own gardening box to mixing the right kind of soil for your yield – and so much more!

In addition, I loved the detailed list of 30 popular plant profiles that’ll help you nurture the raised-bed garden of your dreams. Cute plant illustrations also make this an exceptionally fun read.

In short, Raised-Based Gardening for Beginners is by far one of the best gardening books for beginners keen on this specific interest.

6. The 20-30 Something Garden Guide

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Dee Nash’s The 20-30 Something Garden Guide is targeted at – you guessed it – 20-30 somethings looking to start their very own gardens. Above all, the book caters to people living in smaller urban spaces, where gardening may be limited to patios, balconies, or decks.

I adore the many lovely plant illustrations! In addition, the book is also perfect for budget-conscious gardeners, thanks to easy-to-follow and affordable projects that do not require huge cost and time investments.

Among various topics, Nash gives equal attention to showing you how to grow both edible and ornamental plants. In addition, if having limited space is your main concern, there’s also a great section on how to nurture a healthy garden amid small and manageable containers.

In short, I find The 20-30 Something Garden Guide to be one of the best books on gardening for beginners. Not simply for people who fall within that specific age range – but just everyone in general looking to get started!

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7. How Plants Work

How Plants Work
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Here’s something a bit different! Horticulture expert Linda Chalker-Scott devotes her book to exploring the strange and wonderful science behind garden care.

Why do container plants sometimes die – despite your best efforts to water them? How do your green darlings tell the time of day and know how to seek sunlight? Chalker-Scott expertly answers these questions and many more in this incredibly insightful read.

Above all, How Plants Work teaches you all about plant psychology and its nuances. I believe this is invaluable knowledge that’ll greatly improve your gardening skills. In addition, Chalker-Scott also goes in-depth with her discussions on plant anatomies, soil qualities, pruning techniques, and so on.

Despite being sciency, I love how the book is written in very accessible language, keeping things fun and engaging. In short, How Plants Work is among the best gardening books for beginners who want to enrich their technical know-hows – but without the dry jargon.

How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do (Science for Gardeners)
  • Chalker-Scott, Linda (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 236 Pages - 04/22/2015 (Publication Date) - Timber Press (Publisher)

8. Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden

Best Gardening Books for Beginners Books About Gardening Cut Flower Garden
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Ever dreamed of raising a showstopping flower garden? Here, Cut Flower Garden will fit your needs perfectly. Florist farmer Erin Benzakein takes you on a blossoming journey as you turn your drab plot into a breathtaking floral wonder.

Filled with colored photos, this gardening book teaches you how to grow, harvest, and achieve lush flower blooms all year round. In addition, you’ll also learn the basics of floral arrangement, set to various seasonal and occasion themes.

I especially appreciate how Benzakein shares info relating to different climates. This makes her tips accessible to a wider audience across different locations. In addition, she writes with great enthusiasm, excitedly guiding you step-by-step as you create your petaled garden masterpiece.

In short, I think Cut Flower Garden is by far one of the best books on gardening that’s well-suited for flower-loving beginners.

Other best gardening books to start with!

9. Vertical Gardening

Vertical Plants Greens
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I think Vertical Gardening is a great primer if you’re especially keen on this type of gardening. A huge perk of going vertical is being able to shrink the amount of gardening space needed, thanks to climbing plants that scale upwards. In addition, such plants tend to be less prone to insects, diseases, and pests that may overwhelm novice gardeners.

There are quite a few vertical gardening books on the market. However, I find Fell’s to be among the best of the lot.

10. Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening

Rodale's Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening
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Another Rodale must-have, this encyclopedia is filled with expert tips and in-depth plant profiles for all aspiring organic gardeners. In addition, my favorite section covers a range of eco-friendly techniques for caring for your garden amid changing climate conditions. The book also shows you the best way to handle intrusive pests and weeds.

In short, Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening is a near-exhaustive resource on the topic that’ll please any gardening novice.

Rodale's Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening: The Indispensable Green Resource for Every Gardener
  • Martin, Deborah L. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 720 Pages - 01/30/2018 (Publication Date) - Rodale Books (Publisher)

11. Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre

Mini Farming Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre
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Building a self-sufficient food resource has been on an uptrend. In this respect, I find Mini Farming especially useful in what it teaches.

The holistic aim of the book is to help you grow crops that’ll supply 85% of your family’s needed food supply – all harvested from just a small plot of land!

12. The Well-Tended Perennial Garden

The Well-Tended Perennial Garden
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This books lays the groundwork for you to grow a gorgeous perennial garden that’ll be the envy of all your neighbors.

I love the huge range of topics taught here. This includes deadheading, pinching, thinning, and so much more. In addition, there’s a good rundown of specific plant species advice, along with many eye-opening garden design tips.

In short, I think The Well-Tended Perennial Garden is one of the best gardening books to help you progress from being an absolute beginner to a perennial green thumb.

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13. The Cook’s Herb Garden

The Cook's Herb Garden
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If you’re into both cooking and gardening, you’ll want to check out The Cook’s Herb Garden. This beginner’s guide includes step-by-step instructions with photos on how to plant, nurture, and harvest a multitude of herbs.

I’m amazed at how the book squeezes in a wealth of info that’s very easy to follow for novices. You’ll quickly pick up skills to ensure your herbs grow healthily, whether on a small window ledge or amid larger outdoor spaces.

14. The Resilient Farm and Homestead

The Resilient Farm and Homestead
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If you’ve already got your gardening basics covered, permaculture may be a great next step to dive into – provided you’ve got sufficient land. For this, I think you ought to give Ben Falk’s masterclass book a try.

More than just about gardening, it teaches you how to foster your very own ecosystem. I especially loved all the detailed info on site-designing, topsoil formation, fertility and harvest cycling, filtration systems, and much more.

In short, The Resilient Farm and Homestead is an extremely comprehensive read for beginner permaculturists who wish to help preserve Earth’s precious resources.

Know of other great books on gardening for beginners? Drop me an email and I’ll include your suggestions in this growing list!